May 2019 Calendar of HOPE…

It is incredible that we have arrived in May! Later this month the next tour of our projects will begin with stops in Nyangombe, Lusaka and Chipata. The trip will afford visits with our project partners Charles Kafweta, Gordon and Sybil MacKillop as well as Geoff and Martha Muvumbo. We are also looking forward to spending some time at the Quarry School with Violet Simalonda.

This month’s calendar image is two sisters, orphans, who live in a village near the Nyangombe settlement. Supported by donations to Project HOPE, the girls are able to attend school and have basic resources provided. Their beautiful smiles mask the reality of their circumstances, no family, little comfort and day to day challenges to survive. But, the care and compassion of the community care teams at Nyangombe and the financial support of Project HOPE, means they have a future filled with hope.

Please think creatively about how you can help us care for more vulnerable orphans in this part of the world. Your financial gift can make all the difference in the life of a child!

Families of elephant are readily seen in the South Luangwa National Park. With many predators also constantly lurking, looking for their next meal, the protection of infant elephants keeps the adults busy. This month’s image features one carefree baby elephant enjoying a playful afternoon. What the photograph does not show is the ring of mature elephants keeping a close eye on this little one. An opportunistic lion or pack of hyena would have their hands full if they tried to take the baby.

Such images are beautiful and amazing. Seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat while struggling to forage for food and protect themselves is a reminder of the daily struggle of our vulnerable widows and orphans. The delicate balance between life and death is a reality each day.

April 2019 Calendar of HOPE…

Providing safe milk for infants and orphans starts with good herd management at the Nyangombe Dairy Farm. With technological investment by Canadian dairy companies, Nyangombe has been able to continue testing milk on the spot. The testing, which involves drawing a sample of fresh milk from the milking can into a special slide, the slide is then put into a magnification instrument that is attached to an IPOD. An app then does a diagnostic of the milk and within thirty seconds, gives an accurate assessment of the quality of the milk.

That amazing process ensures orphans are not drinking tainted milk. With limited resources or access to regular veterinary services, this simple yet complex process is a huge positive for Nyangombe. Each slide completes one test so keeping the farm supplied with enough slides on an ongoing basis is the challenge for Project HOPE.

The herd at Nyangombe is in excess of 200 and the dairy program is critical for the support of vulnerable infants and orphans. The whole program is a terrific example of creative partnerships that accomplish a significant result. We need more partners that will use their modern technology to solve village issues!

The warthog featured in this month’s calendar photograph was taken in the South Luangwa National Park. This particular animal, a mature adult, was foraging at midday. Seemingly relaxed and unperturbed by its surroundings and our presence, the warthog leisurely grazed as we looked on.

Warthogs are day animals and spend most of their time looking for food. They are normally found in family groups. Warthogs have the peculiar habit of kneeling on the front knees while feeding and foraging in a localised area. They shelter in burrows at night, which they enter tail first. Socially, three main groups are encountered, namely solitary boars, bachelor groups and matriarchal groups. Matriarchal groups consist of adult sows with their young and yearlings. Boars play no part in rearing piglets and seldom associate with sows outside the mating process. Warthogs can frequently be found at waterholes where they dig in the marsh and wallow in the mud with obvious enthusiasm.

March 2019 Calendar of HOPE

Providing funding for school fees for orphans is a significant part of the mission of Project HOPE. These fees, required by virtually every school in Zambia, are designed by local committees that are meant to cover uniforms, security and additional costs related to each institution. For an orphan, no money means no school.

These fees can range from $50 per year to $50 each term, depending upon the school. There are some schools, like the Saikalo School in Kasama, Zambia, where orphans do not pay any fees but that scenario is rare. This month’s photograph captures just one of over 600 orphans who benefit from the services of the Saikalo School. Project HOPE’s primary concern is to assist with feeding these orphans every day. For $250 each month all students receive a meal every day at the school. We need your help to cover this cost.

Our partnerships are critical to moving forward with our mission to bring hope to vulnerable women and children. This partnership, between Project HOPE and our donors here at home is also extended to our working relationship with our project managers on the front line. Without their critical updates and communication, we are unable to move forward. Without your help, we can not fund this important mission. Please consider making a gift today to ensure these orphans get a meal each day.

Zambia’s National bird is the African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer). They can be spotted perched high up on branches above rivers, lakes and swamps. They have a very large range and can be found across Africa. The Fish Eagle is featured on the Zambian Coat of Arms and you can often hear the evocative call being used on the local radio and television.

The eagle featured was photographed in the South Luangwa National Park just at sunset, perked high in a tree surveying its surroundings. A majestic and beautiful creature!

New “BEES”ness a sweet funding source for Project HOPE: Liberia

Getting the ‘hives’ has been a profitable venture to date. Wacky Wendell’s Honey, a social enterprise start up just outside Aylmer, Ontario, produced 260 pounds of sweet honey in 2018 and in turn, sold their stock with 100% of the sales going to Project HOPE’s newest partnership in Liberia.

Project HOPE: Liberia manager, Fred Varnie, has been building momentum in his community caring for orphans. Fred’s passion for helping vulnerable children started as he spent hours as a porter assisting patients during Liberia’s Ebola outbreak in 2014. As he witnessed firsthand the devastation of the epidemic, Fred decided that when he had the opportunity, he would create community supports for children affected by the crisis. Fred’s path took him to Wilfred Laurier University with an African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship. As part of his academic program, Fred was partnered with a Canadian business advisor. Wendell Graves, City Manager of St. Thomas, quickly built a solid rapport with Fred as his mentor. During his studies in Waterloo, Fred also connected with Project HOPE and shared his desire to create a sustainable community for orphans in his home country. After successfully completing his program, Fred returned to Liberia and quickly put his ideas into action.

Back on the farm, Wendell Graves started his entrepreneurial engine. After an intensive course in beekeeping at Guelph University, the bees and hives arrived. Soon, the bees started producing. “Wacky Wendell’s” honey has quickly become a popular artisan product in Elgin County and southwestern Ontario. The bees, Fred and Wendell, have become a sweet success in a very short amount of time.

While keeping track of Fred’s progress in Liberia, it quickly became evident that this endeavour fit completely with Project HOPE’s mandate. Project HOPE: Liberia has joined the partnership of programs hosted by Project HOPE as another critical mission to vulnerable orphans and a path to create sustainable community.

As outlined by Project HOPE’s Executive Director Christopher Graves “Project HOPE: Liberia is an incredible example of extraordinary people with strong community connection who make a significant impact. This is a true partnership of enterprise, mission and outreach that serves those who are vulnerable to give them hope. We are proud to be a part of this new project.”

The first investment of honey financing has made Fred’s first dream become reality, the building of a community centre. The Maple Leaf Academic Centre is currently under construction. The centre will be a mentorship hub. Lectures, tutelage, guest presentations, educational sessions and other similar activities will be regularly held at the centre with invited guests facilitating programs for local orphans. The centre will have a staff person on site to meet the needs of vulnerable children who access this exciting community resource.

Additional donations would be beneficial to encourage this new project. Please consider making a gift today to support this incredible new mission in Liberia.